What is it with footballers’ drives?

‘Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet’ is a famous line from Rudyard Kipling’s Barrack-Room Ballads. Had he been writing today, of course, Mr K could have drawn upon cultural touchstones such as Gremlins and water, alcohol and text messages… and footballers and cars. And while it’s obvious why the first two should never mix – though it’s up for debate which is worse, a room full of Gremlins or a phone full of drunken texts – why is it that footballers and cars are such a toxic concoction?

Lack of Wisdom

The latest footballer to come unstuck behind the wheel – or stuck, in this case – was Liverpool’s Andre Wisdom. The defender is on loan at Derby County and, when driving across to the Rams’ Pride Park he was following his satnav so intently he wound up driving his car into a muddy ditch.

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He then did what any of us would have done: got out and left the £100,000 Porsche Panamera Turbo to sit in about three feet of mud and water. The car was later towed away by a Jeep but it’s still unclear as to how it ended up there in the first place – it was way past the point where any normal road user would have thought something was amiss and turned back. Unsurprisingly, the footballer hasn’t made himself available for comment.

He’d drive through a brick wall for his club…

The saying goes that some footballers will run through brick walls for their clubs. Some, however, try to drive their cars through brick walls. Examples of this include Louis Saha, who totalled his car in a one-man crash close to the tunnels that run under Manchester Airport – bizarrely enough, Cristiano Ronaldo wrote-off a car in exactly the same spot – while Keiron Dyer rear-ended a Vauxhall Cavalier while driving his Mercedes down the aptly named Blind Alley interchange in Chester-Le-Street. Luckily, both Saha and Dyer walked away from the crashes unscathed – and that’s despite both having injury records suggesting they could injure themselves pulling on their shin pads.

Pennant’s penance

Jermaine Pennant isn’t exactly top of the league when it comes to driving history. Let’s not dwell on his misdemeanours, however, but recall the time, when moving from Spanish side Real Zaragoza to join Stoke City, his current club, he left his £98,000 Porsche at a Zaragoza train station and then apparently seemed forget he even owned it, leaving it there for weeks. So how did the Zaragoza officials who called him to tell him he’d left the car know it was his? The P33NNT number plate probably gave them their first clue. Keep an eye open for his latest car, a ‘chrome’ Aston Martin…

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Call the (style) cops

High speed collisions and serious driving offences aren’t the only reason why footballers and cars should never mix, though. Now plying his trade at Leeds United, Senegal journeyman and serial-spitter El Hadji Diouf used to cruise around town in this beauty…

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While at Arsenal, defender William Gallas was another who liked more than just his wheels to be chromed…

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But no-one comes close to Stephen Ireland of Stoke City... If a pink-trimmed Range Rover wasn’t enough…

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…he customised this Bentley for his girlfriend, even going so far as to have the ‘B’ on the bonnet replaced with her initials ‘JL’

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Has anyone any idea why footballers and cars just don’t mix? You can leave a comment in the 18-yard box…

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